Australian Alps snow depth history – 78 years of noisy data but little long term trend

A reader asked me if I had any historic snow depth data for Australia and drew my attention to Chiefios blog.
There is a Snowy Hydro webpage with some annual snow depth charts and I have used those charts from Spencers Creek to build a maximum depth time series.
I also have a 1990 report – “The South East Australian Alpine Climate Study” – by CSIRO, University of Melbourne and Alpine Resorts Commission. That has a graphic on page 19, Fig 2.4 Annual maximum snow depth (water equivalent in cm) for Rocky Valley Snow Pole Line 1935 – 1989.
I have digitised those data and let Excel plot the two time series below.

As usual the data do not support the normal media predictions that the ski industry is doomed. We know the Australian ski-fields do not have great heights of mountains above them – the pioneers worked that out – no news there.
But the data does not show any sign that “Global Warming” is wiping out the Australian ski resorts.

2 comments to Australian Alps snow depth history – 78 years of noisy data but little long term trend

  • Philip Bradley

    I tried to find, without success, data on snowfall as opposed to snow cover or depth. The reason being to look for an aerosol and BC/solar insolation effect (the 2 should diverge if such an effect exists). Many people including me, think this is the main reason for the Arctic – Antarctic sea ice divergence.

  • John Knowles

    Cloud cover must be an important factor as it is the source of snow and shade. The Chacaltaya Glacier of Bolivia faded away due to a lack of replacement snow tho’ Al Gore used it as an an example of global warming which in this case was quite wrong because local thermometers show no significant warming at 16,000ft.
    On Australia’s Main Range there is a big difference between a sunny September day and a cloudy one. The intense sunlight causes rapid melting.
    Ed note: If you make a time chart of South East Australian winter rainfall anomaly here – you see the increase in 1950 – possible to make a case that broadly the snow depth chart follows winter precip. Of course with increased rain there should be more cloud anyway.

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